Lambeth Bridge Obelisks

Lambeth Obelisk, England, public art

Public Art: Lambeth Bridge Obelisks

Also Known As : The Pineapple Obelisks

Designer: Sir George William Humphreys (1863-1945) , the then Chief Engineer to the Council.

Architects: Sir Reginald Blomfield (1856-1942) and George Topham Forrest (1872-1945)

Description: The Lambeth Bridge obelisks were made from Cornish granite. A pinecone sits atop each obelisk despite the rumors they are pineapples. 

Date Unveiled: The Lambeth Bridge was opened on 12 July 1932 by King George V.

Location: The obelisks can be found on either end of Lambeth Bridge, the site of a horse ferry between the Palace of Westminster and Lambeth Palace on the south bank, London, England.

Lambeth Bridge Trivia: A popular urban legend claims that the pinecones atop the obelisks are pineapples, and were a tribute to Lambeth resident John Tradescant the younger, a botanist, who is said to have grown the first pineapple in Britain.

The site of Lambeth Bridge was once an ancient landing stage that was used to receive the monarch on state occasions.

Prior to the bridge, a horse-ferry operated between Lambeth and Millbank under the control of the Archbishop of Canterbury who resided at Lambeth Palace thus the name Horseferry Road on the western approach to the bridge. In 1656 the Horseferry sank sending Oliver Cromwell's coach and horses to the bottom of the Thames.

The bridge was deliberately painted red as a link to the unique ensemble of political institutions on this stretch of the Thames, including the Houses of Parliament and the former headquarters of the LCC at County Hall. The red is the same colour as the leather benches in the House of Lords which is at the southern end of the Palace of Westminster nearest the bridge. This Westminster Bridge, which is the next one down, is painted predominantly green, the same colour as the benches in the House of Commons at the northern end of the Houses of Parliament.

The bridge was used for a scene in the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban film. It was where the Knight Bus passed between two Leyland Titans.It can also be seen in the  One Direction music video, One Thing.

References : http://list.english-heritage.org.uk/resultsingle.aspx?uid=1393008 ,

Acknowledgements: A special thank you to Robyn from Head Set Hairdressers for kindly providing the photograph.

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